The Halo 2
Multiplayer Map Pack
has finally arrived! Over the past few weeks we've been taking a closer look at each of the five brand new maps contained in the pack.
were all put in the spotlight, offering some insight into their development as well as some tips for survival. This week we offer a glimpse at the final map, Gemini. Even if you've already downloaded the new maps or picked up the disc, give this a quick read to better familiarize yourself with the history of Gemini and improve your win rate!
Welcome to Gemini!
Set inside the majestic Covenant cityworld, High Charity, Gemini is known for its contradicting clash of frantic battle and peaceful tranquility. These chambers once served as place for meditation for the Prophet hierarchy but nowadays the only thing served is carnage.
The roots of Gemini go back further than the High Charity you remember from the Halo 2 campaign. Gemini is the spiritual successor to "Duality", a popular map released long ago in the Marathon Infinity pack. While the visuals have clearly been given a substantial update, the basic layout remains intact. These screens below are taken from the original "Duality" map to give you a better idea of just how far things have come.
Artist Tom Doyle explains the basic similarities between the two maps, "The Duality map from Marathon actually had a pond in the center, but we went with something more suitable for the Prophets – a tree." Aside from this new majestic tree, the fundamental layout and flow of the original map remain intact.
Why Gemini? What were the gameplay goals for bringing this map into Halo 2? Designer Tyson Green explains:
"Our goal was a good map for small groups, but with more of a good ranged game than other small maps, like Elongation. Some small maps are too open and too dominated by the sniper rifles, so we were targeting the medium range weapons, like the Carbine. So there are open spaces, but there are also simple things like doors to limit the range, and lots of disengaging options from each area."
Gemini is indeed good for small groups and the array of corridors, corners and doorways breaks the map up into small chunks, good for quick close range encounters. The map is made even smaller by the inclusion of two teleporters that take players from one of the map the other. Two additional teleporters allow players to reach perches high above the tree, perfect for ambushes.
Porting a Marathon map into Halo 2 isn't just a matter of swapping out textures. Tyson recalls some of the challenges they faced when balancing Gemini:
"Marathon ’s weapons were shorter range than Halo’s, so we had to add a lot of cover to Duality’s open layout to keep the sniping weapons from being too dominant."
This cover comes in the form of a giant tree, a giant Prophet statue, doors and numerous rocks and outcroppings. Weaving in and out of the cover in the central atrium while dodging Carbine shots is exhilarating and a good way to escape incoming sword lunges.
Many folks have been on the receiving end of a sword one too many times and feel it's often too powerful to counter. While sometimes that may be the case, it's not the case on Gemini.
"The Sword actually works well on the map, countered as it is by the Carbine,"
"You can also move in interesting ways through the map, playing mind games with single opponents as you play a ranged game with them."
Gemini offers quite a few weaponry options depending on your tastes. This overhead map gives the locations of the major weapons worth grabbing but please note that there are plasma grenades, Needlers and other instruments of death scattered about the map.
For the most part, Gemini is a short-range weapon lover's delight. As was noted above, the Sword is placed right in the center of the map, a symbol to the central role it can play in most games. Lucky for people on the other side, there are ways to stop the sword. Two Shotguns are available on the outer ring of the map and are a great surprise to people who come strolling through a door. There are quite a few Carbines scattered about as well and they will make short work of anyone caught in the open area near the tree.
A Beam Rifle is available though its effectiveness is somewhat limited by a lack of clear sight lines. It is possible to teleport to one of the upper perches but visibility through the tree is hampered (it's usually more effective to sit up there and then jump down and pounce on your opponent with the sword or the shotgun).
Two Brute Shots are available, one on either side of the map just inside the sliding doors. The close quarters nature of Gemini along with plenty of corners make the Brute Shot an ideal choice. Rapid fire a few shots around a corner or wait by a door and deliver a solid melee to their noggin. An overshield lies just at the bottom of the Prophet statue and obviously can do a lot to boost your chances of survival in a heated match.
Tips & Tactics
Gemini is a fairly straightforward map and there aren't a lot of specific strategies to employ. A solid grasp of the "basics" along with knowing the various weapon locations will go a long ways towards securing a win. However, the map does have a few specific areas, each better suited to a particular weapon or play style. Designer Tyson Green offers this advice:
"Change your game to suit your weapon. If you’ve got a Shotgun or Sword, avoid the open atrium, stick near the cover and the teleporters. Do the opposite if you’ve got the Carbine. And never rush through doors or teleporters—they’re excellent places for ambushes."
Gemini is laid out in such a way that you can literally run laps around the map, grabbing weapons and ammo as they respawn, staying just a step ahead of your opponents. Use the teleporters to quickly move from one end of the other. One of my favorite tactics is to sit on the ledge above the atrium and wait for the perfect moment to strike. Lobbing grenades down from above can ruin someone's day quickly but it's the most fun to jump down onto an unsuspecting opponent and crush them with the sword or a melee attack. If you jump carefully, you can also land in the tree itself, which may give you an added element of surprise against less experienced players.
Gemini, along with eight other multiplayer maps, is now available for Halo 2. The Multiplayer Map Pack includes all nine maps in addition to a special cinematic, a behind-the-scenes documentary and Halo 2 auto-updates. Live subscribers can download the first four maps for free (Containment, Relic, Sanctuary and Turf) and the five new ones are available for purchase. All five of the new maps will be available for free over Xbox Live after August 30th.
The Halo 2 Xbox Live Matchmaking Playlists are scheduled to be updated on Monday, July 11th and all five new maps will be available in the "Team Preview" and "Rumble Preview" playlists for everyone who has purchased them.